Re: Heinlein (1946) on the Singularity

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 19:15:08 MST

At 10:29 AM 1/4/02 EST, Mitch/Spudboy wrote:

>Professor Broderick:

Just for the record, I'm not a prof; I don't teach (well, I gave one
lecture and co-supervised one PhD); I have no students at the University of

> Was your post about Heinlein, evidence that he seemed to see a
>"singularity" on the horizon? If so, neither his atomic war, nor a period
>of accelerated technical progress actually occurred. Houses in 1946 look
>much as houses did then, autos are gasoline powered, there's a computer in
>every home, but surely not robots.

This is asking too much. One aspect of the rise up to a Singularity is that
the farther ahead you look the greater the difficulty in knowing which
technologies will go spikishly exponential. Incidentally, though, one could
make a case that a number of early Heinlein stories *do* show that he
realized the need for massive extensions in computational power: it's just
that he tended to embody this in mutant or hyper-trained humans or
hive-mind aliens.

> *rumbles from the Grave*

Apologies for the buggered title: that's actually GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE.

Damien Broderick

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